On our first day in SFO, Jan. 2nd 2019, we had booked a private tour guide to show us this nice city. It was Valeska`s first visit to SFO, while Michael had been there 44 years ago. Again, we were so lucky having most splendid weather and a lovely tour guide, Paige, as well. She drove us around, uphills & downhills and showed us most of the interesting sights and we got a perfect overview of San Francisco. After 4 hours of sightseeing, we invited Paige for lunch and she picked a very nice small but good restaurant with delicious dishes.
The next day, Jan.3rd 2019, we went on our own and wanted to ride world famous cable cars. Well, many other tourists had the same idea, so we patiently waited in line for about an hour until we finally got on one of these old fun cars. Started from downtown at Powell Station/Market Street and rode on the Powell & Hyde-Cable Car-Line, up- and downhills to Fisherman`s Wharf at Ghiradelli Square, from where we walked along all the Piers of Fisherman’s Wharf. Though only fairly crowded, it was a bit too touristic for our taste. Nevertheless, we enjoyed watching some street artists, visited the Mechanical Museum and had fun watching the Sea Lions at Pier 39. Continued from there riding on an old vintage street car on the F-Line all along the Embarcadero with many more Piers.
January 4th 2019 was a day each of us enjoyed a different tour: while Michael wanted to stay in the city, Valeska preferred to visit Muir Woods and see some Redwoods there.
I was picked up from the Hotel at 8 a.m. and the tour took me and 6 more guests all the way and across Golden Gate Bridge to the hilly landscapes on the north side of the Bay. Muir National Monument Park is located some miles north, in a sheltered canyon, where those fascinating tall trees have been and still are growing for a couple of thousand years already. It was amazing to walk a trail between these giants. After an hour and half, the tour continued to Sausalito, a small town on the north side of the wide Bay, where many houseboats, a well-sized Marina and some nice shopping streets could be seen. After lunch break, where I sat by the waterside to enjoy the views of distant Alcatraz and SFO-skyline in the haze across the Bay and eating a piece of Pizza, which a seagull wanted to have as well, our knowledgeable tour guide, who told us not only about the Redwoods and SFO but also about his wild life as a Hippie in his younger years, brought us back to SFO.
Michael had done a Hop on-Hop off-Tour in an open bus meanwhile, and we both returned at the same time. Enjoyed a delicious Seafood Dinner at a restaurant at Fisherman`s Wharf that evening.
All in all, we both enjoyed San Francisco a whole lot and I hope to return there sometime again - there are still so many things to see, which we could not all do within only 4 days.
January 5th 2019 was a very rainy day, so I did some shopping at Macy`s which was just a block from our hotel. In the evening, we were invited by Silversea, who greeted all Worldcruisers 2019 and gave us a big warm welcome, followed by a seated Dinner at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (whose architect was Daniel Libeskind, who also built the interesting JM in Berlin). It was so much fun to see many cruise friends & aquaintances again, with whom we had cruised before, so there was lots of hellos and hugging and chatting all evening long…
Next noon, January 6th 2019, was embarkation day. A chartered bus took us to the Cruise Terminal at the Embarcadero, where we got aboard the Silver Whisper. Before the Cruise, the ship had been in dry dock and was nicely refurbished and a bit modernized. We were happy to be back at our home for the next four and a half months, and it was wonderful to see several familiar faces of the nice crew as well.
The weather still was horrible, it rained like hell, one hardly could see the nearby Bay Bridge nor the Skyline, and waves were rather high in the harbor. Therefore, the ship’s refilling with gas had to be interrupted and we could not start the cruise that same day. We were told to anchor in the Bay (we had to give way to another cruise ship coming in after our originally scheduled departure) and the supply ship with the fuel continued its refilling early next morning, when the weather had calmed down.
January 7th 2019, we got up early, cause we did not want to miss the scenery when leaving San Francisco. We were on the open deck at sunrise and a bit later enjoyed sailing by the skyline, underneath the long Bay Bridge, by the (former prison-) island of Alcatraz and underneath famous Golden Gate Bridge to the open sea. This hour was magical and we both felt happy.
However, after only about 2 hours at sea, we heard an announcement from the Captain who informed us that we were returning to SFO due to a medical emergency (a passenger had fallen and broken his upper leg). So we had a second visit to San Francisco, and after the injured passenger was picked up by the coastguard (so we did not have to dock), we cruised around Alcatraz, having more thrilling views of the city and its surroundings, and then sailed -underneath Golden Gate for the 3rd time- out to the wide Pacific Ocean, this time for good.